The one-point-seven billion dollar fight over whether the state of California can abolish local redevelopment agencies moves to the State Supreme Court this week.
As part of this year’s budget package, Governor Jerry Brown pushed lawmakers to eliminate redevelopment agencies and set up an alternate program for agencies that contribute money to the state. Redevelopment supporters immediately sued, saying the changes violated voter-approved Proposition 22.
H.D. Palmer with the governor’s Department of Finance disagrees. “We believe the law is clear, that these agencies were created by an act of the legislature,” said Palmer, “and similarly, they can be dissolved by an act of the legislature.”
But Chris McKenzie with the League of California Cities says the state can’t use one constitutional power to reach an unconstitutional result. “It’s an abuse of their power – you can’t violate the constitution and claim, oh, but we really are just using this other power that we have,” said McKenzie.
The California Supreme Court says it will rule on the case by mid-January.